2008: the “Long March” of Chinese Brands
2008 was both a crucial and difficult year for China: a fitting example are the Beijing Olympic Games, which directed the world attention to the country but also contributed in triggering off some harsh critiques.
In its own way, Chinese advertising became a protagonist in such big challenges, especially in those launched by transnational advertising agencies, and interpreted new opportunities by exploiting the Olympics and launching national brands on the global stage.
The 35 commercials of this review come from the Chinese Yearbook of Best Advertising Works 2009, in Chinese, the result of a selection focused on audiovisual campaigns from continental China; they are divided into 7 categories, based on themes and common characteristics, rather than on the product/service they promote. Almost all agencies are local and have offices in Canton, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.
The strength of Chinese new brands collects the ambitious commercials of those companies that first put into practice the “go out” policy to spill over the national borders; among these, Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, and Gree, leader in air conditioning.
The Commercials to serve Beijing 2008 Olympics range from Lenovo, the first enterprise to become a worldwide Olympic partner, to China Unicom, one among the many Chinese companies that used the rhetoric of the “Olympic dream” to advertise itself.
Different are the tones of the Commercials that make you smile, typically amusing but at then same time posed and almost childish (Totole chicken stock cubes), or blatant, almost ridiculous (instant noodles Baixiangji).
Of all the Japanese brands and products appreciated in China, we find not only representatives of the car business (Toyota), but also those of the cosmetic industry (Shiseido). The Western brands and products, on the contrary, are just a few and do not refer to the “made in Italy” most common brands (Candy, Mentos).
On the other hand, plenty are the commercials which promote a European lifestyle “Made in China”, whose brands and products boast a very unlikely European origin, from Jeray menswear to Kuka sofas.
Public service announcements (and CSR) deal with themes of public interest, such as the Sichuan earthquake and the negative consumer behaviour of the new Chinese generations.